Four-time defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier has been unstoppable thus far in the season-opener at Road America, the Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha rider leading every session, breaking the lap record, earning pole position and winning today’s first HONOS Superbike race by a country mile.
Beaubier led every lap to win his eighth career Superbike race at the scenic racetrack in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, his win today tying him with his former teammate Josh Hayes for second on the Road America career win list. If Beaubier wins tomorrow’s Race 2, it will be his ninth and that will tie him for the all-time lead with Mat Mladin.
An extremely confident Beaubier led off the line from pole position, led into the first corner, and was never headed, eventually winning by 7.8 seconds at a racetrack where margins of victory are usually less than half a second.
“I don’t know, man,” Beaubier said when asked if this is the best he’s ever ridden in his career. “Just this off-season with Yamaha and Richard (Stanboli) at Attack putting their heads together, they kind of came up with an incredible package. We made a huge step, I feel like chassis, electronics-wise, a little bit motor. Everything’s just working. I feel so good on this thing. I don’t want to jinx nothing. I just want to keep the ball rolling. I’ve just been having pure fun on the thing. We’ve been able to beat our track records back home at Buttonwillow. It’s just been great working with the whole team. Everyone’s kind of come together. It’s been great.
“So, I finally got a good start and just put my head down there at the beginning. Clicked off some good laps at the beginning. Then I saw my gap grew a little bit. I just kept the head down and tried to ride as consistent as I could. Everything’s working really good right now. It’s one of my favorite podiums, my two buddies in the pits up on the podium with me. It’s been really good. I’m definitely ready for things to get back to normal, though. It’s been a little strange not having fans and having to keep your distance with your team after you get a good result. I’m just so pumped to be racing. Everything’s good. Looking forward to tomorrow.”
Second place went to Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African fighting through after a less-than-stellar start. He mowed the through the pack, however, passing Toni Elias, Bobby Fong and Jake Gagne en route to the runner-up finish.
“My start was terrible, as usual,” Scholtz said. “I’ve kind of gotten used to it by now. But it actually worked out well for me. We missed quite a lot of track time on Friday practice, so I kind of slotted in behind (Bobby) Fong, (Jake) Gagne and them, so I was able to kind of see what they were doing for the first couple laps. I think that really helped me to figure out one or two things. Once I kind of got up to the back of them, I saw that in some of the harder braking points I was a little bit stronger than them. So just kind of kept to myself then. With five laps to go, I managed to get past Jake (Gagne) and Bobby (Fong) and just kind of rode my own race from there. I was really looking at where to try to pass. I was told they had their own battle going on, so it kind of worked out well for me. I want to say a huge thank you to the Westby team. It’s been difficult to pre-season test with me breaking my collarbone and stuff. Just really, really thankful to be back on the podium.”
Scholtz ended up beating Gagne by .705 of a second with Beaubier’s Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha teammate Gagne getting the better of M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Fong on the final lap, besting him by just .524 of a second for the final podium spot.
“Cam (Beaubier) got off to a heater of a start,” Gagne said. “I knew if he could get off to a start and I could kind of be in second, I wanted to try to see if I could at least run a couple laps and pick up the pace. He was flying right away. I was charging those first couple laps. I could see on my pit board I had .2, .3, .4 at one point. Then those guys immediately started creeping up. That was kind of the push I wanted to try to make. Mat (Scholtz) was hauling butt. Bobby (Fong) was right there. I made a mistake I think one lap in. Mat got underneath me, Bobby got up underneath me and then from there I got a few laps to kind of see what they were doing, which was nice. Kind of struggling with the grip a little bit more than I thought, but Mat was really looking good. Bobby was looking good. It was fun to race with those guys again. It’s been a while since we had a little battle and go back and forth. Bobby and I had a pretty good last lap. Went back and forth a couple times. So that was fun. Hats off to these guys. They were riding great. Hats off to my team and Monster Energy Attack Yamaha. This bike is working better and better every time we get on it, and we’re getting more and more comfortable. Thankful for tomorrow. We’ll see if we can make a couple little adjustments and try to get closer to these guys.”
Inde Motorsports Ranch/KWR Ducati’s Kyle Wyman ended up a lonely fifth, the New Yorker some seven seconds clear of Josh Herrin, who was making his debut on the Scheibe Racing BMW S 1000 RR. Herrin, in turn, was 2.2 seconds ahead of Celtic HSBK Racing’s PJ Jacobsen and his Ducati Panigale V4 R.
FLY Racing ADR Motorsports’ David Anthony was eighth with Scheibe Racing’s Jake Lewis and Travis Wyman Racing’s Travis Wyman rounded out the top 10.
M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Toni Elias was the most notable non-finisher, the 2017 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion suffering a mechanical problem on the fourth lap.
Superbike Race One
- Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
- Mathew Scholtz (Yamaha)
- Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
- Bobby Fong (Suzuki)
- Kyle Wyman (Ducati)
- Josh Herrin (BMW)
- PJ Jacobsen (Ducati)
- David Anthony (Suzuki)
- Jake Lewis (BMW)
- Travis Wyman (BMW)